Backpacking backpacking food ideas

Published by OGE

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Backpacking Food Ideas

Experienced and avid backpackers do two things extremely well:

First, they make sure their bodies are in a good enough shape that they don’t break down on the trail.

Second, they know how to keep their energy levels up with food and drink.

You might be wondering:

“What are some great backpacking food ideas?”

What are some great backpacking food ideas?

Well, you’re not the only one.

It can be a real struggle planning meals for your next big backpacking trip. Of course, it would be nice if there were food trucks parked on the trail just waiting to grill you up a nice fat steak taco but chances are, that’s not in the plans.

Now you’re looking at your backpack, and it keeps looking smaller and smaller. How might you fill out your pack with enough food to keep you rocking and rolling on the trail, but not turn your pack into a refrigerator?

Here’s the deal:

By the time you finish this page, you’re going to know exactly what to bring on your next backpacking trip, and trust us, it’s going to be good camping food.

Let’s start out with breakfast.

Breakfast is such an important meal. You’ll want to make sure you hydrate yourself and fuel your body with nutritional food. Sure, eggs, sausage, pancakes, bacon and hot cocoa or coffee sounds amazing. But, you want to get your adventure-packed day started! A light snack means no cleaning, and an earlier start.

Here are some popular choices:

  • breakfast or energy bars
  • instant hot cereals
  • dried fruits
  • granola
  • dehydrated eggs

Now let’s move on to Lunch.

It’s not ideal to stop and take a long break at midday. It’s a pain to unpack and then repack. Having a prolonged lunch break will only give your muscles and joints just enough time to stiffen up on you, making it much harder for you to get back in action. You don’t want that. A better option might be to pack snacks that are easy to get to and eat. You could snack on these throughout the day to keep your energy levels up.

Here are some popular choices:

  • jerky
  • trail mix
  • energy bars
  • dried fruit
  • peanut butter (in a zip lock)
  • tuna packets (not cans)
  • hummus

Your reward – dinner time.

This is where you get to spoil yourself. Your body is beat and needs some TLC. Remember that food truck with steak tacos? Nice try. That’s 60 miles back in town still, but you don’t need that right now! Honestly, all you need is boiling water, and you can have a fantastic meal in the backcountry.

Here are some popular choices:

  • packaged freeze-dried meals (mountain house)
  • instant mashed potatoes (browse flavors)
  • tortilla shells (everything tastes better wrapped in a shell)
  • instant stuffing
  • pack your favorite spices in baggies

Good hydration tips.

Of course, you’ll want need water. However, sometimes your purified water just tastes funky.

But here’s the fix:

Pack your favorite drink mixes.

Here are some popular choices:

  • propel zero packets
  • crystal light
  • Nuun packets
  • Mio water enhancer
  • ZipFizz healthy energy drink mix

Now that you are squared away on backpacking food ideas, you might still be wondering:

How much backpacking food should I bring?

Alright, it’s time to get all smarty pants on you. But first know that it’s important to make sure you pack ENOUGH food. We’re talking the right kinds of food. Think efficient. When you step out on nature’s path, you’re taking a risk. Some unforeseen event may occur that keeps you in the wild longer than planned. Being on the top end of enough food is a lot better than the bottom.

Alright, alright, alright, bottom line?

1.5 to 2.5 lbs. of food, or 2,500 – 4,500 calories, per person per day

You should aim to pack 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. of food, or 2,500 – 4,500 calories, per person per day. This obviously depends on your size, weight, and fitness level.

What to stay away from?

This can be an easy question to answer. Especially if you’ve personally made some of the mistakes in the past by bringing some of the below items…

Weight. Simply look at the food item. Pick it up. Is it heavy? Okay, don’t bring it, you’ll thank us later.

Size. Is it bulky? Canned soup is bulky, and it’s a pain in the arse to pack an empty tin can the rest of the trip. Say no to bulk.

Messy. Ain’t nobody got time to spend an hour on cleanup duty after each meal. You can officially ruin your backpacking trip if your food spills out inside your pack. Talk about a bummer. Keep it clean.

Now get out into the backcountry and enjoy yourself! Be sure to come back and let us know how you ate and if you’ve found any new personal favorites backpacking food ideas to share!

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